Wednesday, March 9, 2011


House hunting has been very eye-opening. We picked a price we were comfortable with that worked well with our budget and then used that as a jumping-off point in our search. We were pretty picky: a specific area (close to Mr S's work), 3+ bedrooms, 2+ baths, basement, garage, living, dining, and family rooms, and a decent size lot.

After our first choice fell through, we widened our search area without great results, then focused it closer to Mr S's work and raised our price ceiling. Here's the last three houses (after 15 or 20 previous ones) that we looked at:
10 minutes from work. Brand new (not yet finished), nice little neighborhood, 4 bed, 2 1/2 bath, 2 car garage. No basement though, and the lot was a little smaller than we'd like. And the price was waaaay more than we had ever planned. Sooo tempting though.

Across the street was this house:
50 year old house. 4 bed, 2 1/2 bath, living, dining, family rooms. Full basement and two car garage. Walk up unfinished attic (sooo cool- I would have loved playing up there as a kid). Not as expensive as the house pictured above, but at the top of our budget. Unfortunately, it needs a lot of work: the kitchen was quite scary,
I'm really not sure what a fireplace with cooking hooks is doing in the kitchen, but it was obviously well-used. The house is only 50 years old, not 200!

the bathrooms were original to the house, and the entire house needed to be painted. All that would take a big chunk of money. So tempting though- it had great bones and it would be a lot of fun to update it.

Looking at those houses helped us re-think what our priorities are. Do we want to overextend ourselves when buying a house? Do we want to be house rich and cash poor? Not in this economy we don't. So we looked through the listings again and decided to look at one just down the road from the two houses above. We hadn't looked at it before because it doesn't have a garage. On the other hand, the price was good and the lot is big enough to build a garage in the future.
10 minutes from work, 4 bed, 3 1/2 bath, living and dining rooms on the main floor, family room and 4th bedroom in the full finished basement, 1 3/4 acre lot. An added bonus is that it has a well and septic tank so buh-bye monthly water bills! There won't be HOA fees either, so more money saved.

While the house doesn't have a garage, we're happy with everything else and we're not over-spending. We'll be saving up and hope to build the garage next summer.